Translational Neuroscience Laboratories

The Translational Neuroscience Laboratories is a group of independent labs that all use combined studies in human and nonhuman species to investigate the neurobiological mechanisms that underlie human cognitive processes such as attention, sensory discrimination, and memory, as well as those that underlie cognitive dysfunction in psychiatric disorders.

Our overall approach is to identify brain operations that are common to human and nonhuman species such as nonhuman primates, and to develop experimental models in nonhuman species that allow dissection of critical brain circuits and physiological/pharmacological processes. This permits a much more precise and accurate mechanistic definition of the neural underpinnings of cognitive function and dysfunction which, in turn, facilitates the development of clinical treatment strategies that are increasingly effective, and have increasingly fewer side effects.

More detailed information can be found in the individual laboratories’ descriptions.

The Translational Neuroscience Labs work in partnership with those in other lab divisions of C-BIN and those at other institutions to improve the scientific understanding of higher order brain functions, and to set the stage for a new generation of clinical strategies for treating a range of neuropsychiatric disorders.

Dr. Schroeder is currently the principal investigator on two major grants from the National Institute of Mental Health. “Neurobiology and Dynamics of Active Sensing” is a Conte Center project through Columbia University with some of the research happening at NKI. The second grant is an R01 titled “Defining Neuronal Circuits and Cellular Processes Underlying Resting fMRI Signals.” The results of these projects should have widespread implications for mental health, particularly in biomarker discovery, and human connectomics.


The TNL labs combine invasive and noninvasive electrophysiological recordings that range in scale from the single neuron through the local cell circuit to the whole brain network level. Pharmacological manipulations aid in identifying key neurotransmitter components of brain operation.

We use all of these methods for direct empirical investigation and to help in connecting information from noninvasive fMRI to the specific underlying neural circuits and cellular physiology. These methods are also used to investigate the manner in which noninvasive brain stimulation techniques such as transcranial electrical stimulation (TES) operate on brain circuits.

Finally, they are combined with molecular genetic methods to explore and develop increasingly specific neuromodulatory methods such as DREADDs (Designer Receptors Exclusively Activated by Designer Drugs) and optogenetics in nonhuman species, and to translate their use into clinical settings in humans.

Current Investigations

  • Probing the dynamical neuronal mechanisms and pharmacological processes underlying sensory processing, multisensory integration, and attention
  • Linking noninvasive fMRI findings to activity in specific neural circuits
  • Defining the mechanisms by which noninvasive TES operates on brain circuitry
  • Developing increasingly effective and selective TES methods
  • Translation of DREADD and optogenetic methods for neuromodulation from their present applications in rodents into primate models that are more directly applicable to humans